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News Mumbai Province (INB)

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Salesians Exploring New Horizons and Growing
By Karen Laurie
Mumbai, Nov. 14. Rector Major Father Angel Fernandez Artime, the 10th successor of Don Bosco, met his Salesian fraternity of the Mumbai province - comprising of over 100 priests - on November 12, and reminded them that they are part of a ''great congregation'', which is forging ahead and ''opening new horizons'' is countries like Malaysia and Gambia.  
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The Rector Major was in the city for a day-long visit to preside over jubilee celebrations of three institutions in the city, Diamond Jubilee of the Shrine of Don Bosco's Madonna, the Platinum Jubilee of Don Bosco High School and the Centenary of St. Joseph's High School. He also visited Don Bosco Shelter, where he met with several youth - who form the crux of the charism of the Salesians of Don Bosco world-over.

He set aside an hour to also meet with the Salesians just before presiding over the Festive Jubilee Eucharist. During his meeting with his confreres he highlighted a road-map for taking the congregation forward and also summed up the over-all affairs of the congregation with relation to the possibility of deploying young Don Bosco's to places where there's little hope for the hopeless, like Siberia and Mongolia.    

''The congregation is moving ... because permanently there are things developing. We open new houses, we open more than what we close. The congregation has opened up new horizons in some countries. We are going to start a community in Malaysia, in Gambia, that is a small country in West Africa,'' he said.

''Around the Feast of Don Bosco, we are going to start a presence in a big refugee camp in Uganda, where there are 40,000 refugees and among all these 40,000, half are minors. I can tell you that having gone around the world, I've never returned back to Rome with the sensation that things aren't going well.''

''If you look at India, for example it's a marvel, look at Asia East, it's the same. Look at Europe, I can say the same thing about that. The technical schools that we have for poor in Europe are wonderful institutions.''

The Salesians are at times the only hope for youth in war-torn famine-ridden countries like Sierra Leone, Peru and Colombia. ''We found many girls and boys around 15 years of age who are caught up in the drug war of FAARC in Colombia. A year ago their job was to be in the Army to kill other people, when we found them we could see hope and life in them,'' he said.

''We went to Ghana and found two small girls of eight years, those girls were left to die somewhere else. They had all been trafficked to take away their vital organs. Two adolescents, I remember were looking at us from far. They had suffered so much, after knowing how fraternal and loving we are, they are permanently with us, because they needed a father.''

The Rector Major also addressed a range of administrative issues that have been dealt with in recent times. ''Meeting the confreres personally is sufficient reason enough for me to be travelling around the world. It is beautiful to see the numbers of the Salesian family, lay collaborators, meeting young people and poor is very beautiful.''

In the course of the meeting, a band from the Don Bosco Youth Centre performed a piece ''Tijuana Taxi'', followed by which Father Orville Coutinho, Golden Jubilarian of Profession-  presented the Rector Major with a shawl, while a novice garlanded him.

The Rector Major also released a special coffee-table book entitled ''100 Years and Counting - St. Joseph's Wadala'', printed to mark the centenary of the Salesian institution only a kilometer away from the sprawling Don Bosco campus in Matunga. Father Godfrey D'Sa, the Principal of St. Joseph's addressed the gathering. A band of brothers from Divyadaan in Nashik then performed ''Scipio''.

The Rector Major also urged the confreres to take care of each other and to build a spirit of brotherhood. ''It's important to care for each other, because sometimes without distributing warmth, we lose confreres in the congregation. In our community, we must grow more and more in our fraternity, because the congregation must continue to grow.''


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